"Government bashing" is the order of the day, but I have surprisingly enough, have something good to say about the government today.
Last week the girls and I went on our annual visit to our Gogo who had been with our family for 28 years and had retired to her rural home in Kezi to look after her grandchildren whose mother had died.
It was an emotional visit, she had virtually brought up our daughters and the girls had been on a giant shopping spree to buy all sorts of useful and necessary items for rural living.
Gogo was well if thin, an exceptionally hard working lady with the biggest heart in the world, her home is always open to anyone who needs help.
We drove for a couple of hours to Kezi, parked our car at the little church near Lingwe School where the Salvation Army is hard at work, and walked a couple of kilometers, but were fortunate enough to find a couple of porters to help us carry our booty.
The last time we had been to Gogo's rural home we had been able to drive right up to the perimeter fence with all her furniture and belongings, through two river beds where, I remember well, one of our trucks had stuck in the mud. But now a large dam had been built and hence the road was no more.
And this is where the government comes in. This dam, the Mhambinyane Dam was built two years ago by the Chinese I believe with aid from an NGO, but it was a government initiative and where there was once a dry barren part of the Matabeleland South, now there was a garden of Eden !!
All around the dam's perimeter were little plots of vegetables, hedged by stout fences to keep out the cattle and goats. Tomatoes, maize, beans, onions, melons, cabbage, spinach and choumolier. The Kezi residents work hard here, they have to cart the water from the dam and throw it onto their crops, but the people are happy, the air rings with laughter and joviality. There were loads of people working in their little gardens, carting kraal manure, tilling and hoeing, carting buckets of water onto the verdant plots of joy.
But that was not all, at the base of the dam wall was the real "Irrigation" as the locals called it. Built into the base of the dam wall is a large pipe fitted with a gadget to turn it off and on , which feeds by gravity into a series of cement channels. These canals, also gravity fed, lead to a large sloping irrigated field, many acres in size, all perfectly manicured, row after straight row of crops bloom in abundance. Each Kezi resident has been given a few rows of this irrigation area, each plot capable of producing a sizable yield if farmed correctly.
Six foot tasseling maize in the middle of winter !! Beans, pumpkins, tomatoes, cabbage, rape and onions all thriving amazingly in the middle of usually barren Kezi in drought ravaged Matabeleland South.
It is like paradise, a real sight for sore eyes and a blessing for the once empty tummies for the rural folk of Matabeleland South.
Well done to the Ministry of Water and Whatever.